On Monday, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley gave an impassioned speech at the AIPAC conference and with characteristic bluntness asserted that the United States would not back down from anyone when it came to its alliance with Israel, saying, “It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country. We will not accept it any longer.”
Haley was welcomed with a prolonged standing ovation. She began by noting that she was among friends, adding that in the United Nations, the U.S. doesn’t have many friends. She recalled 2017’s vote about opposing the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, which was 191-2. She stated, “The only two no votes? You guessed it, were the United States and Israel.” She added, “What I always say: quality is more important than quantity.”
Haley brought down the house when she referred to Palestinian negotiator Saab Erekat, who had told her to “shut up.” Haley responded, “Mr. Erekat, I will always be respectful, but I will never shut up.”
Haley said that the most important part of her job was to “stick to fundamental principles, even when they go against entrenched customs.” She said one of those was “Standing up for your friends is critical.” She pointed out that on her first day on the job, she called ambassadors from four countries: the British and French, Ukraine, to reassure them that the U.S. would not tolerate Russian aggression, and Danny Danon, the Israeli ambassador.
Haley noted the Obama Administration’s looking the other way and refusing to veto U.N. resolution 2334, which invalidated Israel’s claim to the holy Temple Mount and was passed in the waning days of the Obama tenure. She said, “It was a shameful day for America. We refused to stand up for our friend when it was singled out for terrible mistreatment.” She said she told Danon on her first day, “On my watch, that will never happen again.”
The second principle Haley listed was her intolerance for bullying. She stated, “It turns out bullying is a common practice in the United Nations,” after noting that Israel does not get bullied on the battlefield. But Israel does get bullied at the U.N., she noted. She pointed out that UNESCO recently declared one of Judaism’s holiest sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as a Palestinian heritage site in need of protection from Israel. She said, “That was enough: ten months into this administration, the United States withdrew from UNESCO.” That brought sustained applause.
Haley continued, “There’s one more principle I knew before I arrived at the U.N. Like most Americans, I knew what the capital of Israel was.” That elicited another sustained ovation. She added, “To be more clear, I knew that Jerusalem was, is, and will always be the capital of Israel.” Shouts of approval filled the room. She said bluntly, “This was not something that was created by an American decision; America did not make Jerusalem Israel’s capital. What President Trump did, to his great credit, was recognize a reality that American presidents had denied for too long.”
Haley stated, “Some day in the future, the day will come when the whole world recognizes that fact. In the meantime, I hope to be there and join our great ambassador, David Friedman, on the day when we open our brand-new American embassy in Jerusalem.” That brought thunderous cheers from the crowd.
Haley recalled the December vote in which the U.S. was condemned for its Jerusalem embassy decision, noting that 65 countries defied international pressure and did not vote against the U.S. She said of the countries that targeted the U.S., “Like I said at that time, we were taking names.” She continued, “God bless Guatemala. They even joined us in moving their embassy to Jerusalem.”
We will continue to demand that Israel not be treated like some sort of temporary provisional entity. It cannot be the case that only one country in the world doesn’t get to choose its capital city. It cannot be the case that the U.N. Human Rights Council has a standing agenda for only one country. It cannot be the case that only one set of refugees throughout the world is counted in a way that causes the number to grow forever. It cannot be the case that in an organization with 193 countries, the United Nations spends half of its time attacking only one country. We will not accept it any longer.